Category Archives: neurobic exercise

The benefits of walking – backwards

Last month I started my tenth year of writing this blog. When I began I was a financial journalist writing about an entirely new subject. Now, after some 3000+ posts, I consider myself to be a reporter on the health, fitness and longevity beat. Compared to a doctor, I probably don’t know much, but compared to what I knew when I started, I have learned a ton.

So, it is with some small embarrassment that I tell you that I just learned about how very good for the body it is to walk backwards.

grayscale photography of five people walking on road

Photo by rawpixel.com on Pexels.com

Here are three experts on the subject:

The famed (and respected by me) Dr. Mercola says, ” Walking backwards helps you to use muscles and movements that you probably rarely use, making it an ideal way to change up your exercise routine for greater fitness gains. When you walk backwards, it puts less strain and requires less range of motion from your knee joints, which is useful for people with knee problems or injuries. Backward walking may help relieve lower back pain, improve hamstring flexibility, burn more fat and calories in less time than traditional walking, improve balance and even sharpen your thinking skills and vision. When walking backwards, do so in a safe location, such as on a track, to avoid falling over obstacles in your path; you can also take a buddy with you to act as your “eyes” and alert you to any upcoming dangers.”

Livestrong “Two University of Oregon professors, Barry Bates and Janet Dufek, have studied the benefits of backward walking and running on people since the 1980’s. They found that backward walking creates reduced shear force on the knees, and may be useful for anyone experiencing pain going up and stairs or doing lunges or squats. Walking backwards uses more energy in a shorter period of time, and burns more calories. It is good for those recovering from hamstring strain because of reduced hip range of motion. Backward walking creates no eccentric loading of the knee joint, the lengthening phase of going down hills or stairs, and can give hikers and scramblers some rest from overuse.”

Lastly, and perhaps most interesting because of the neurobic aspect, The Asian Heart Institute. “When we walk backwards, we obviously cannot see what is happening behind our back so with regular practice our senses automatically build a defense mechanism against potential dangers. This gradually improves balance, peripheral vision and hearing skills. Retro walking is more of a neurobic activity; a physical activity that unofficially invites the brain’s enthusiastic participation. Neurobic activities create a nexus of brand new neural connections in your brain that help you stay mentally sharp, polish your memory and dodge the unwelcome and debilitating guests of later life such as the Alzheimer’s.”

As usual, your comments are invited. I am always interested in your reactions to these posts.

Having added backwards walking to my day, I would like to add the following: Start slow and take small steps. Don’t try to walk long distances, start small, less chance of falling. No point in setting yourself back.

Finally, for the record, check out my Page – Why you should walk more.

Tony

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Filed under Exercise, exercise benefits, flexibility, neurobic exercise, walking, walking backwards